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DOES THE NOTORIETY OF AN ATHLETE ALLOW HIM TO DISPENSE WITH REGISTERING HIS TRADEMARK?Although the answer seems obvious for sports fans, it is less so in justice, as evidenced by a dispute concerning the Argentine soccer player Lionel Messi.

On April 26, 2018, the Court of Justice of the European Union finally allowed the Lionel Messi to register his “Messi” brand for clothing, shoes and sports items when it had been rejected in the past.

In August 2011, Lionel Messi applied for the registration of his trademark with the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO). This application for registration was intended to protect his brand, in particular for clothing, shoes and various sports items, as well as his acronym.

It was then decided that the soccer player trademark presented a risk of confusion with Massi cycle brand, which also offers sports items. This trademark, previously registered for similar items since the signs and trademarks were relatively similar both visually and phonetically.

Lionel Messi then took the case to the European Court of Justice (ECJ), which allowed him to win his case.

The EU Court concluded that, although the trademarks had similarities, the conceptual differences between them negated the visual and phonetic similarities. The comparison of two trademarks does not stop at the visual and phonetic similarities. Conceptual elements such as that a person registering a trademark is also known to a wide audience should also be considered.

The EU Court ruled that Lionel Messi is “a public figure known by most informed and reasonably attentive people” and although it is possible that some consumers have never heard of Lionel Messi, “this will not be the case for the typical average consumer (…) who buys sportswear or sports items” (Judgement No. T-554/14 of the EU Court of April 26, 2018, points 52 and 54).

This decision will allow the Argentine player to benefit from protection of his surname in the countries in which his trademark is registered and to prosper even off the soccer field.

Whether you are famous or not, anyone can protect his / her name.

Published on January 9 2019 by ALATIS IP.


New Delhi - India

Grischenko & Partners IP

Kyiv - Ukraine

Christopher & Lee Ong

Kuala Lumpur - Malaysia

Central LAW Guatemala

Guatemala - Guatemala

International Law & Corporate Services (Pty) Ltd

Victoria - Seychelles

Dimitri Russo S.R.L.

BARI - Italy

Cho and Partners

Seoul - South Korea

Kancelaria Patentowa W.Sojka M.Wroblewski s.c.

Lodz - Poland


Eindhoven - Netherlands

Agency of intellectual property "INTELS"

Moscow - Russian Federation

International Law Company Kodex

Kiev - Ukraine

Adiel Solicitors

Ogudu-Lagos - Nigeria

Vellani & Vellani

Karachi - Pakistan

Estrategia Juridica

Bogota - Colombia

Deep & Far Attorneys-at-law

Taipei - Taiwan

TreeTops & Associates

Dar es Salaam - Tanzania

Betita Cabilao Casuela Sarmiento

Manila - Philippines


Rotterdam - Netherlands

Limited Liability Company

Moscow - Russian Federation

Bufete Mejia & Asociados

San Pedro Sula - Honduras

Spoor & Fisher

Pretoria - South Africa

Beutler Künzi Stutz AG

Bern - Switzerland

Zorin Law Office

Moscow - Russian Federation

JarryIP Intellectual Property Boutique

Santiago - Chile

Brands Care

Istanbul - Turkey

IP Villar

Valencia - Spain

R. Kalashyan & Partners LLC

Yerevan - Armenia

Luis Elias & Asociados

Caracas - Venezuela

InnoCapture Consulting Services Pvt. Ltd.

Noida - India

Chandrakant M. Joshi, Indian Patent & Trademark Attorneys

Mumbai - India

J. Varbanov & partners

Sofia - Bulgaria

SPI Americas

Bogotá - Colombia

IP Moment Services

New Delhi - India

Irin Patent Co.

Sofia - Bulgaria

Gonzalez Villalobos International

Caracas - Venezuela

Brookes IP

Tunbridge Wells - United Kingdom

SyCip Salazar Hernandez & Gatmaitan

Manila - Philippines

JMB Davis Ben-David

Jerusalem - Israel

Borsam Intellectual Property

Shenzhen - China

Codex & Co. Intellectual Property

Lahore - Pakistan

F.A. Garrick & Co

Lagos - Nigeria

InPatent Professionals LLP

Delhi - India

Ratza & Ratza

Bucharest - Romania

Calysta NV

Diegem - Belgium

Solar Law Associates

Bhaktapur - Nepal

LOVEN Patents & Trademarks

Lincoln - United Kingdom

Dr. D. Graeser Ltd

Herzelia Pituach - Israel

OMC Abogados & Consultores

Lima - Peru


Mexico City - Mexico

J. Ponce Law

Makati CIty - Philippines

Stillwaters Law Firm

Lagos - Nigeria

Knightsbridge Patent Attorneys

MELBOURNE - Australia

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Hatfield,Pretoria - South Africa

Moeller IP

Buenos Aires - Argentina

Ella Cheong LLC

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Lexgoal IP Law Office

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Johansson & Langlois

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Dentons Muñoz Zacapa

Tegucigalpa - Honduras

Judex Law Firm

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Lagos - Nigeria

David do Nascimento Advogados Associados

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Z. Manoukian & Partners LLC Patent Office

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Schurman Advocaten N.V.

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Vilage Brazil Intellectual Property

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Sonoda & Kobayashi Intellectual Property Law

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IP Boutique

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Switch Legal

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Johnson Bryant

Lagos - Nigeria

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Thimphu - Bhutan

Dipl. Eng. Kostadin Tahtadjiev - IP agency Patent and Trademark Attorneys

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Mikadze Gegetchkori Taktakishvili (MGT)

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Patentna pisarna d.o.o.

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Smart IP Law Associates

Dhaka , Bangladesh - Bangladesh

Wildgen SA

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IP March

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Novopatent International Service, S.C.

Cuernavaca - Mexico

Destek Patent - Your IP partner in Turkey

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Lext Intellectual Property

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D&N International

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Cabinet Achour | IP

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